I've been going for physical therapy this week for minor back problems. They've been putting me on several machines that stretch my spine to expand the shortening spaces in my aging discs. As I lay there I can hear the conversations of the people around me - most of them elderly and in pain. This morning was more depressing than usual. Two women were discussing their pain, their lives, their children, and their grandchildren. The conversation went something like this:
Woman 1: "Geez, you finally get to an age where you have time and money to enjoy things, but you can't enjoy anything because your body is falling apart."
Woman 2: "Yeah, things sure were different when we were young."
Woman 1: "I'm all by myself. My husband died last year. My kids never come around. They are too busy.
At this point the physical therapist enters with yet another elderly person -- this one a man. Their conversation began about how he got his injury from golfing:
Man 1: "I'd like to get back on the golf course soon. I'm retired, and you know, when you're retired there's really not much to do."
P.T.: "I know, my father-in-law golfs. Since he retired, he golfs about three to five days a week."
Man 1: Yeah, there's really nothing else to do. You know, you're not working anymore, so it's great to get out and keep busy hitting some balls. I worked hard all those years, so now it's time to just relax."
So what's it all about, Alfie? Are we here to work hard to support our families and then spend the last twenty years or so of life hanging on a golf course or in a shopping mall? Are we here to raise our children to expect them to provide us with friendship and security? Are we here to earn money to save so that we can live comfortably in a beachfront condo? Do you think that everyone on the Earth asks these questions? What do you think the people in Somalia are thinking right now? Perhaps they are thinking: "Damn, those lucky bastards have a physical therapist!"
I think we've worked hard for all the wrong reasons. I think we've let our society dictate our Truth - which is really no truth at all. And I think that we still possess within us everything we need to fulfill us beyond our imaginations. Luke's gospel says: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” God first, then self, then others. It makes perfect sense, but we are all mixed up. We expect our jobs, our families, or our friends to fill us. When we lose them, we expect other "things" to do the trick. And we often think we have nothing to give others because nobody is giving anything to us.
But the answer has been the same for all eternity. It is the reason for our existence, and until we look within, we will remain bitter, angry, lonely, and unfulfilled. Again we hear from Luke: “Nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the Kingdom of God is within you.” Imagine the possibilities (and I don't mean a hole in one!)! The Kingdom of God is within you! What will you do with that knowledge today?
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